Polish your writing and make it look more professional
Do you write for the web? Do you write books? Regardless of the medium, during all my years of writing, editing, and publishing, I’ve identified the top 10 editing mistakes that are common to printed text.
Top 10 Editing Mistakes
1. Using the SPACE BAR to add manual spaces for a paragraph indent. [To begin a new paragraph, press or tap the Tab key.]
2. Using the ENTER key at the end of every line of text. [Allow the text to automatically wrap to the next line; use the ENTER key for new paragraphs.]
3. Adding two spaces after each period. [Except for specific academic papers, one space after punctuation is the standard style.]
4. Adding quotation marks inside of punctuation. [In most instances, quotation marks should always occur outside of punctuation, such as: He said, "I love green vegetables."]
5. Incorrect use of the semi-colon. [A semi-colon is used to separate two complete thoughts, not one complete sentence and a phrase. Correct example would be: she loved sorbet; he loved it, too.]
6. Omitted words. [Write first; edit later. By reading your text the next day or several hours later, you will catch all those mistakes where a word was omitted.]
7. Trusting automated spell checkers. [Speller checkers catch only about 85 percent of most spelling errors. If you're not a good speller, then it's best to hire a professional editor or proofreader. Regardless, don't consider that your document has been professionally and accurately spellchecked just by using the built-in spelling device.]
8. Repeated words throughout the text or within the same paragraph. [Search for words that continue to repeat in your document, and then eliminate all the duplicates; at the very least, use other words. Writers are guilty of using the same words repeatedly when they write, without even knowing it.]
9. Author intrusion. [By describing everything instead of showing the emotions of a character, or by over-telling a situation are what take the reader out of your initial intent. Say it. Show it, and then move on. Don't interject your own comments for clarity. Trust that the reader will understand without you telling them what you've already told them.]
10. Lack of transitions. [The best written stories or content flow easily and naturally from one paragraph to the next, thus building a big word picture. If your first paragraph introduces a red car, your second paragraph talks about a chicken in the farm yard, and the third paragraph shows the character sitting in the red car talking on the phone, the reader gets the impression that none of the events are connected. Remember to lead from one paragraph to the next with a transition sentence to connect all the events.]
What additional editing mistakes have you identified? Don’t cry about trying to self-edit your content. We’re here to make your words shine!
Tell me about the editing mistakes you notice the most when you’re reading a story or news items.
How many editing mistakes can you find in this post?
Editing errors have purposely been included in this post. Can you find them? Tell me what they are.